Real Madrid have been boosted with the news that veteran playmaker Luka Modric has signed a new deal at the Bernabeu.
This article was originally published on 8 June 2022
The 36-year-old helped Los Blancos to win a Champions League and La Liga double last season and has been rewarded with an extra year's contract at the Spanish giants.
Modric has been a huge success since making the move to Spain from Tottenham Hotspur back in 2012 and the move guarantees him a decade at the club.
Next season, Real can be backed to win the La Liga once more at 11/10 while they are priced at 12/1 to add another Champions League crown to their bulging collection.
Most players at the age of 36 have either already retired or are displaying visible signs of slowing down and coming to the end of their careers.
However, Modric is no ordinary player - the Croatia international is still an absolute master at controlling games of football despite being in his twilight years.
Longevity is always a trait the best footballers have and while six managers have come and gone (and in some cases come back again), Modric has remained firmly in the limelight at the club.
He has made 436 appearances for Real and scored 31 goals, while his tally of trophies and personal achievements dwarf many players across the game.
He has won five Champions Leagues, three La Liga titles, a smattering of domestic competitions, and in 2018, was the man to break the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo stranglehold of the Ballon d'Or, after leading his country Croatia to the World Cup final.
Modric's technique, vision, and poise are still as evident as ever - the stunning, outside-of-the-boot chipped through ball to pick out Rodrygo for his goal in the Champions League quarter-final against Chelsea will live long in the memory.
Naturally, Modric's game time might be curtailed slightly next season with the ever-increasing demands placed on footballers meaning rotation will be as critical as ever.
There is no question Modric will play a key role, but his remit will also be to act as a mentor for some of the younger players.
Federico Valverde has been an impressive addition to the middle, while Eduardo Camavinga's dynamism was vital in Real going on to win the Champions League.
Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni is set to be the latest big-money acquisition - the France international is a genuine all-rounder in midfield, just as comfortable threading through balls as he is breaking up play, and he will surely be a long-term prospect at the club.
Ultimately, this might mean Modric is used more sparingly, but if anything that will be beneficial as he'll be even fresher in the legs and mind to hurt opponents.
Modric has done what no one else barring Messi and Ronaldo has done since 2007 - be named the best player on the planet. But how does he genuinely rank among the all-time greats?
In terms of his peers, Xavi and Andres Iniesta, who ran the show in midfield for the iconic Barcelona team of the late 2000's and early 2010's, are often cited as the best-ever - a fair enough assessment given how amazing to watch that team was and how much synergy they had.
Going back a little further, Ronaldinho was a born entertainer who wowed onlookers with his outrageous skill, while Zinedine Zidane had everything you would want in a footballer in terms of a perfect storm of technique and physical prowess.
Not forgetting the likes of David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne who have lifted multiple Premier League titles, while Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes are among the English midfielders to have been widely acclaimed throughout the years.
Where Modric is ranked in the pantheon of all-time greats is ultimately subjective - but there is no questioning he is one of the shining lights of his generation.